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The Basics of Trademark Law

Whether you have a service business or have your own product line, there is probably some part of your business that is unique. That makes it necessary for you to consider obtaining a trademark.

Typically, a trademark is any symbol, expression, word, sign or logo that specifically identifies your specific product or service and is unique to your business or service. A trademark protects the branding or the name of the product. To be trademark eligible the name or expression must be unique rather than generic.

Obtaining a trademark gives you several benefits and protects you and your business in the marketplace.

First, a trademark illustrates to consumers and clients that you own this product or service. Second, since you register a trademark with the federal government, you can enforce your rights regarding your trademarked product or service in federal courts. That means you can defend your rights anywhere in the U.S. no matter what size business you own. Last, having a registered trademark protects your product or business from foreign competition and is a beginning step in establishing your international rights in case your business goes international.

There are two types of trademarks. Trademarks are used by the owners to identify physical commodities which may be natural or manufactured and which are sold and distributed in the marketplace. Service marks are used to identify services and their providers.

Both types of trademarks are obtained through an application process with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The application can be obtained online and filed on the internet using the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). Prior to filing the application, you may want to use TEAS to search existing trademarks online to ensure what you want to trademark has not already been trademarked by another company. Whether you undertake this step or not, staff members of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will undertake this search as part of your application process to ensure your trademark will not infringe on the rights of another.

Once you have filed an application for trademark, you may have to wait for up to six months to be granted the trademark. Registered trademarks last forever unlike patents and copyrights which expire. However, you can lose your trademark if you fail to use it, if the term or name loses its meaning or through improper licensing such as simply giving it away.

Once you obtain approval of your trademark from the federal government, you may use the ® symbol in all your print and online business pieces.

Obtaining a registered trademark should be part of your overall business plan so that your business benefits from the protections that it offers.

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Trademarks In The News

Until Dawn Developer Trademarks Shattered State

Supermassive Games, the developer of the 2015 survival-horror game Until Dawn, has recently filed a trademark for a title called Shattered State. The filing of the trademark was done by Supermassive i...

Published:  Sat, 18 Aug 2018 02:45:00 GMT

Dyson trademarks Digital Motor for road car use

Sir James Dyson has previously denied his company is working on an EV Dyson will use its low volume first model development and production period to establish relationships with suppliers, so that whe...

Published:  Mon, 20 Aug 2018 07:32:00 GMT

Apple has been granted a Design Patent for their Apple Watch Sport Loop Band and Figurative Trademarks for 'Clips' & more

When Apple launched Apple Watch Series 3 last September, they also launch the Sport Loop band, The Woven Nylon is updated with a new pattern and the incredibly lightweight Sport Loop effortlessly adju...

Published:  Sat, 18 Aug 2018 03:18:00 GMT

Until Dawn Developer Trademarks "˜Shattered State' as gamescom Teases "˜Huge' Surprises

August 21 marks the tenth anniversary of gamescom, and it seems that the event organizer has quite a few surprises in store to celebrate the occasion. Meanwhile, THQ Nordic seems to be a roll. The pub...

Published:  Sat, 18 Aug 2018 09:02:00 GMT

Fight Over ZERO Trademark Remanded Back to Trademark Trial and Appeal Board After Federal Circuit Broadens Test for Generic Trademarks

Should one company have exclusive rights to use the term "Zero" in connection with no-calorie soft drinks The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ("Federal Circuit" ) has remanded that quest...

Published:  Thu, 16 Aug 2018 13:57:00 GMT

Trademarks, Patents and Copyrights, Oh My! What's the Difference

Intellectual property might seem esoteric, but it's important to protect it like you would any other asset. To do so, you'll need to understand some basics about intellectual property rights first. Tw...

Published:  Fri, 10 Aug 2018 07:08:00 GMT

Supermassive Games Trademarks New Political Thriller

The developers for the PlayStation 4 video game Until Dawn, Supermassive Games, have included a new trademarked logo to their collection. A new logo has surfaced on the internet which shows the words ...

Published:  Sat, 18 Aug 2018 01:30:00 GMT

About leadership trademarks, styles

MANY leaders, be they traditional or political, often acquire certain trademarks and styles by which they wish to be identified among their people or subjects. The trademarks are of various styles and ...

Published:  Fri, 10 Aug 2018 01:40:00 GMT

Cadillac Gearing Up For Assault, Trademarks 11 CT And XT Names

Cadillac has gone on a trademarking spree, securing almost a dozen names for the CT and XT families. GM Inside News reports that the automaker filed trademarks for CT2, CT3, CT4, CT5, CT7, and CT8 alo...

Published:  Tue, 14 Aug 2018 09:00:00 GMT

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